INTERVIEW: SOPHIE LISA BERESFORD | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Janina Sabaliauskaite

If you’ve ever seen Sophie’s work before, particularly her performances (check out her Pizza Shop Dance here), you’ll know that they exude an infectious energy. Speaking to her about her work is no less energetic, which comes as no great surprise when you realise that for Sophie, there is no separation between her art and herself. “My work is my spirit, my essence is my work, often when people ask what art do I do, I tell them I do art by any means necessary, to provide healthy code resonant structures for other humans to tap into, which is so necessary today.”

This creation and sharing speaks towards Sophie’s outlook on life. ‘The artist as shaman’ – artists as a conduit for people to access and realise a new way of seeing the world – is a concept perhaps most associated with Joseph Beuys and the Fluxus movement of the seventies, and is at the core of Sophie’s practice. “My overall mission as an artist, you could say, is to open a portal with no bounds for humanity, so they may easily access higher levels of their own consciousness, which means greater depths of their own true nature of their being.”

One of the mediums through which Sophie is able to channel her energy and her art is one deeply rooted within North East culture; Makina, the form of Spanish techno. Whilst it may seem an odd choice for an artist to utilise, listening to Sophie explain her practice it soon makes perfect sense: “Being born here I had two choices, there was the awful capitalist culture, that feels disgusting to me on a visceral level, or there’s this other culture, which was very rough but it was dedicated to its art: Makina. It had a rhythm of a tribe; we all share a rhythm and a resonance together.”

geordie mackem magic Image by Michael Gardiner__1455702101_128.65.101.133

Image by Michael Gardiner 

This channelling of her North East roots into a positive energy and sharing it with the world connects directly to her latest exhibition at Arts Centre Washington, Geordie, Mackem Magick, a series of monumental photographs of a shamanistic Sophie taken within the region. “I’ve put together this Newcastle and Sunderland strip into one outfit; it provides an image in the atmosphere of a one-ness within our tribes. That oneness lives within me and now independently through an image. It raises the concept of my people up into their greatness, their beauty and their divinity. Captured within an image it now serves as a cultural reference, to say ‘wow, there’s a divine amazing quality to Mackems and Geordies’, this magic, this drumbeat within them, that comes from there and nowhere else.”

Hearing Sophie talk you can’t help but be uplifted by her words and spirit, leaving you feeling invigorated by her positivity, a perfect antidote to the stresses of the modern world. “We are available to be great within this space, and I want to solidify that truth into our consciousness and I do it through art, and this is the power of art…art can turn over this whole fucking thing. And it will.”

Geordie, Mackem Magick is exhibited at Arts Centre Washington from Thursday 17th March until Sunday 5th June.

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